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2019 New Year’s Resolution: Help Your Pet Lose Weight

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Picture of Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

2019 is just a few days away, and Coloradans are already making New Year’s Resolutions. Can you guess the most common goal? Fitness! Along with being voted as the Most Desirable City to Live in 2018, Colorado Springs was also voted #3 as the Healthiest City in 2017, so it’s no surprise that people in El Paso County value their health – and what better view than Pikes Peak to do so!

This being said, why not help your pet stay healthy alongside you in 2019! Pet obesity is a very common health issue in both dogs and cats, and as a vet in Colorado Springs, we at Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic want to help you recognize the signs of obesity in dogs and cats, and give you the resources to help keep your pet healthy.

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Signs Your Pet is Overweight

While excess body fat is the most recognizable sign of obesity in cats and dogs, other underlying symptoms may exist as well. Here are a list of signs that your pet is overweight:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Distended abdomen
  • Inability/unwillingness to exercise
  • Lack of mobility
  • Lethargy
  • No visible waistline
  • Weight gain

While these signs are very strong indicators that your pet might be overweight, the best option for diagnosing and treating your cat or dog is to visit a veterinarian.

Dangers of Obesity in Pets

When left untreated, obesity in pets can cause several underlying health conditions. For this reason it is essential that pet obesity is treated right away. Some possible long- term effects of pet obesity include

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Heart disease
  • Increased anesthetic risk
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Respiratory compromise (trouble breathing)
  • Tumors

How to Help Your Pet Lose Weight


While sharing food with your pet seems like an act of love, cats and dogs both need specific diets to stay happy and healthy. Food not designed for your pet can be dangerous in the short term and can cause obesity in the long term. Even certain brands of cat or dog food can contain harmful ingredients that encourage obesity in your pet. It is important to check with your local veterinarian to make sure that the food your pet eats is appropriate for their breed, size, and developmental level.


Just like with humans, regular exercise is an essential aspect of leading a healthy life. While both dogs and cats can play with toys and run around the house, exercise for cats and dogs may look different. Dogs can benefit from taking long walks, running around the dog park, playing fetch, and making them work for treats. Cats, on the other hand, can play with other cats, climb cat towers, chase lasers, or even go on walks if they are properly trained. Here are Ten Cat Exercises that you can put into play with your feline friend!

Regular Health Checks

Sometimes when your pet is eating correctly and exercising regularly, the obesity could be caused by an underlying health condition such as surgery, hypothyroidism, insulinoma, or hyperadrenocorticism. For this reason, regular health checks and examinations with your vet can ensure that your pet does not have any other medical conditions contributing to obesity. Furthermore, your vet can help make sure that the new diet and exercise are helping combat your dog or cat’s weight.

Regular Weigh-Ins

Even when not at the vet, regularly weighing your pet at home is important for monitoring progress. While it can be difficult to actually get your pet to hold still on the scale, one way to weigh a cat or dog is to pick them up. By holding your cat or dog on the scale with you, then subtracting your own weight, you can find the weight of your pet. For bigger dogs, many pet stores have walk-on scales that are free to use.

Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic: Best Affordable Vet in Colorado Springs

With people and with pets keeping new year’s resolutions to stay healthy is impossible alone. At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic in Colorado Springs, we’re here to help. With a skilled staff and top-of-the-line resources we know how to work with any pet emergency, including obesity.

Make sure that your pet is happy and healthy for the new year and more by giving us a call at 719-433-7671, or schedule an appointment today.

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.